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Nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) and activator protein 1 (AP-1) transcription factors regulate many important biological and pathological processes. Activation of NF-kappaB is regulated by the inducible phosphorylation of NF-kappaB inhibitor IkappaB by IkappaB kinase. In contrast, Fos, a key component of AP-1, is primarily transcriptionally regulated by serum responsive factors (SRFs) and ternary complex factors (TCFs). Despite these different regulatory mechanisms, there is an intriguing possibility that NF-kappaB and AP-1 may modulate each other, thus expanding the scope of these two rapidly inducible transcription factors. To determine whether NF-kappaB activity is involved in the regulation of fos expression in response to various stimuli, we analyzed activity of AP-1 and expression of fos, fosB, fra-1, fra-2, jun, junB, and junD, as well as AP-1 downstream target gene VEGF, using MDAPanc-28 and MDAPanc-28/IkappaBalphaM pancreatic tumor cells and wild-type, IKK1-/-, and IKK2-/- murine embryonic fibroblast cells. Our results show that elk-1, a member of TCFs, is one of the NF-kappaB downstream target genes. Inhibition of NF-kappaB activity greatly decreased expression of elk-1. Consequently, the reduced level of activated Elk-1 protein by extracellular signal-regulated kinase impeded constitutive, serum-, and superoxide-inducible c-fos expression. Thus, our study revealed a distinct and essential role of NF-kappaB in participating in the regulation of elk-1, c-fos, and VEGF expression.


Animals, Cell Line, Tumor, DNA-Binding Proteins, Doxycycline, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, I-kappa B Kinase, Mice, Mice, Knockout, NF-kappa B, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases, Proto-Oncogene Proteins, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun, Reactive Oxygen Species, Signal Transduction, Stem Cells, Transcription Factor AP-1, Transcription Factors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, ets-Domain Protein Elk-1